His Excellency Hon. Daniel T. Arap Moi
C.G.H. MP, President and Commander in-Chief of The Republic of Kenya

at the 
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
 2nd September 2002

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address this summit of distinguished world leaders assembled here to review the progress made since Rio ten years ago. I thank my Dear Brother and Colleague, President Thabo Mbeki, for the excellent arrangements put to our disposal and the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for the preparatory work already undertaken.

At Rio in June 1992, we committed ourselves in Agenda 21 to protect the environment and eradicate poverty, and to formulate priority actions for the realization of sustainable development.

Looking back at the last decade, the track record of implementation of the agreed actions to stop further deterioration of the global environment has been rather disappointing.

We certainly could have done better and achieved more, if the consensus and commitments displayed in Rio had been translated into real action.

I hope that this Summit will give fresh impetus to the commitment by the international community to the call of sustainable development and in particular to the implementation of the Johannesburg plan of action. We must move away from mere talk to real action.

Experiences over the past decade have proved beyond doubt that certain key issues must be addressed as a matter of priority. Foremost among these is poverty, which is a major obstacle to efforts by Governments to ensure environmentally friendly socio-economic development.

Poverty reduces living conditions to a continuous and desperate struggle for survival. In such a situation, the luxury of weighing the consequences of one's actions does not exist.

The eradication of poverty is, therefore, crucial to the realization of sustainable development.

The problem of poverty has been compounded by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has increased health care costs, and threatens to reverse the gains in the quality of life attained over many years.

This summit must therefore commit more resources towards social improvement programmes in health, education, water and sanitation, environmental degradation, infrastructure development and access to affordable energy.

Sustainable development is unlikely to be achieved in Africa given the current levels of external debt, declining official development assistance and foreign direct investment flows.

The highly indebted poor countries initiative is a positive step towards alleviating the debt burden, which is responsible for massive outflows of scarce development resources from developing nations. Unfortunately however, many highly indebted countries, including Kenya, do not benefit from this initiative. I, therefore, call for the review of the eligibility criteria under this initiative and propose that countries facing high levels of poverty and debt burdens qualify for debt relief.

Concerted efforts must be directed towards the full integration of developing countries into an effective participation in the global financial and trading systems.

I urge this summit to building on the momentum achieved in Doha, Monterrey and the Millennium Summit to ensure an equitable and transparent multilateral trading system.

Developing countries must be given full access to the markets in the North. At the same time, developed countries should endeavour to meet internationally agreed target of 0.7% of their official development assistance over the next five years.

Although globalization has potential for diverse opportunities, its benefits are unevenly distributed. Its costs are borne by all while its benefits and opportunities are concentrated in a small number of countries in the North. It is therefore, imperative that this conference should address the challenge of attaining sustainable development in a globalising world.

Globalization must be channelled into a positive force for all peoples of the world. Resource mobilization through development initiatives should therefore occupy the centre stage to liberate Africa from poverty and underdevelopment.

This conference must put in place an effective institutional framework which would ensure the timely implementation of the Plan of Action.

In this regard, there is need to strengthen the existing United Nations Agencies, especially UNEP and HABITAT, the two key institutions for the co-ordination of sustainable development initiative. They should be provided with adequate and predictable resources to enable them carry out their mandate fully and effectively.

I wish to conclude by challenging this summit to demonstrate greater commitment to address the development priorities identified in previous conferences. This conference must make a difference.

It is my sincere hope that we shall endeavour to rise above national interests and direct our efforts towards tackling the numerous problems that face our planet. It is only by doing so that we can guarantee the continued survival of the human race and all life forms on planet earth.
Let us not lose an opportune moment to build a new ethic of global stewardship. Let us seize the opportunity to make the planet earth a better habitat for the present and future generations.

Thank you.